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Cablegate: Georgia-Russia Crisis; U.S. Presidential Campaign

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ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 290831Z AUG 08
FM AMCONSUL SAO PAULO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8479
INFO RHEHNSC/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 9615
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO PRIORITY 8823
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC 3157

UNCLAS SAO PAULO 000458

SIPDIS

STATE INR/R/MR; IIP/R/MR; WHA/PD

DEPT PASS USTR

USDOC 4322/MAC/OLAC/JAFEE
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR OPRC OIIP ETRD BR
SUBJECT: GEORGIA-RUSSIA CRISIS; U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN

In Transition

Editorial in liberal Folha de S. Paulo (08/28) says: "The crisis in
Georgia exposes limits of the Western reaction (to the crisis) and
shows a need in adapting diplomacy to a new reality. ... Russia
affirms to the world that the attempt in promoting Georgia's
territorial reintegration might detonate a conflict between the two
major nuclear superpowers.... Russian President Dimitri Medvedev
bets on a cold calculus between the Western superpowers: support to
Georgia does not compensate for all the risks associated with a
confrontational dispute with Russia. And it is not only a matter of
military argument... The Americans themselves have no interest in
breaking bridges with the Kremlin, it is important to deal with
sensitive issues for Washington, such as Iran's ascension.... By
coincidence, this transition in the rules of the international game
finds the U.S. in the middle of a presidential campaign. If the
U.S. is aware of this new reality, both John McCain and Barack Obama
will understand that they will need to turn the page of the foreign
policy conducted during eight years by George W. Bush."

The Russian Climb In the Caucasus's

Editorial in center-right O Estado de S. Paulo (08/28) comments:
"Aware of the foreseeable protests against the decision of
recognizing unilaterally the independence of Georgian separatist
provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia...the U.S. and European
Union try to persuade Moscow that the tensions incited against the
West are against their best interests...Russia's disproportionate
reaction to Saakashvilli's adventure...might lead Russia into
isolationism, bringing political and economic damage, whose
importance should not be underestimated by their leaders... The fact
is the European Union is reluctant to go further than words before
Russian aggressiveness."

Obama tries to captivate the center to beat McCain

Editorial in business daily Valor Econtmico (08/28) says: "...In the
last months, Obama showed himself to a good part of the electorate
as an inexperienced, hesitating politician, who defends an ambiguous
program with vague ideas but brilliant rhetoric. After Hilary gave
up, Obama did what every politician would do, no matter how he
clamored for change -he moved to the center. Part of this is pure
political calculus and defensive action. ... However, there is a
price to be paid, which is the disappointment to part of this
electorate, who believed that the renewing campaign of Obama would
be maintained until the end... By Obama winning the battle to be
the Democratic candidate and dragging millions of voters to
previously apathetic primaries shows that important transformations
are under way in the country. We need to see if they are strong
enough to overcome prejudices and the conservatism of a great part
of the electorate."
White

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